Languages of Uttarakhand

Languages of Uttarakhand
Languages of Uttarakhand (Census 2011)

Official languages of Uttarakhand

Hindi is the official language of Uttarakhand and is spoken by 89.15%of the population (2011 Census of India, figures include Garhwali spoken by 23.03%, Kumaoni spoken by 19.94% and Jaunsari spoken by 1.35% of the population as variants of Hindi)

Sanskrit is not used in daily conversations but it has been given the status of the second official language of the state of Uttarakhand. The language is considered the root of many indigenous languages. Uttarakhand is called Devbhoomi(land of Gods) and Sanskrit is the Devbhasha(language of Gods) thus the status.

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Popular languages of Uttarakhand

Garhwali belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages. It is often the first language of the Garhwali community. Almost all people who can speak and understand Garhwali can speak and understand Hindi too. It is spoken by over 22 lakh people in India as per the Census.

Kumaoni is a dominant regional language. It is a Central Pahari language like Garhwali. It is spoken by people belonging to the Kumaon region. As per the Census, there are around 20 lakh people in India, whose mother tongue is Kumaoni.

Jaunsari is spoken by the Jaunsari tribe. It is a West Pahari language and is spoken by 1 lakh people. This tribe is found in the Jaunsar-Bawar region of Dehradun and is a scheduled tribe (ST) as per the Indian Constitution and believes to be the descendants of the Pandavas. Jaunsari is regarded as a dialect of Garhwali, but it listed separately.

Endangered Language

As per the Census Directorate, 42 Indian languages are said to be endangered. Due to the small number who speak the languages are expected to soon be extinct. The languages include dialects as well. The 42 languages are considered endangered because they are spoken by less than 10,000 people. From Uttarakhand Bangani is one such endangered language.  Bangani is considered as a dialect of the Garhwali language(some scholars considers it closer to Western Pahari languages as well.)

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